1. How much will it cost to consult with an attorney about a problem I may have?
A: Our attorneys take personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you do not owe us a fee unless we recover damages on your behalf. If your injuries prevent you from traveling, we will arrange to meet you at a time and place convenient for you.
Contact Savage Law Firm today or call 843-720-7470 to arrange a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We will evaluate your case and discuss how our experience in personal injury law can benefit you.
2. Why should I use my health insurance for medical treatment caused by an accident?
A. Clients who utilize their health insurance to pay for accident related medical care always recover more in settlement than clients who do not. Health care providers demand payment at the time that services are rendered. Insurance companies do not settle claims, or pay for medical care, until such time as all medical care is concluded and the case fully resolved. This can take months, and in some cases more than a year in cases of serious injury. By using your health insurance, medical providers typically do not send non covered portions or co-pay amounts to collection companies, which in turn preserves the client’s good credit.
A visit to a hospital emergency room may cost several hundred dollars. A person without health insurance is billed for this full amount and at the conclusion of the case this bill is paid in full from settlement proceeds. When a client has health insurance, the health insurance company has negotiated a lower payment arrangement with the hospital for the same services. If the health insurance provider seeks reimbursement at settlement, we will insist they reduce the amount of their claim again to reflect the work that we have done to secure reimbursement. This increases the client’s final settlement amount.
3. Why won’t the at-fault insurance company pay the claim when the police report has the other party clearly listed at fault?
A. The police report is simply the investigating officer’s belief as to what occurred at an accident. Police reports, and the conclusions reached by the officer, are not admissible at trial. Therefore, a police report may find an at-fault driver responsible for the accident, but because this information is not admissible, the insurance company may still refuse to accept responsibility for the damages caused. In our handling of cases, we immediately contact the officer to determine if the at fault driver admitted fault at the accident scene which overcomes this problem.
4. What am I entitled to recover when I am hurt by the negligence of another?
A. When someone acts negligently and causes harm to another, the law allows you to be compensated for out of pocket medical expenses which a jury determines are reasonable and necessary, along with reimbursement for lost wages, which results from the injury or medical treatment. You are also entitled to compensation for any scarring or permanent disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. If your income earning potential has been adversely effected, you are entitled to compensation for what you could have earned prior to the accident less what they are presently capable of earning. We utilize vocational specialists and economists to assist in calculating these losses.
5. How do I obtain needed medical treatment when I don’t have health insurance and the at-fault insurance company drags their feet?
A. This is a dilemma which millions of people face. If someone without health insurance is injured in an accident the insurance companies do not pay for medical treatment when treatment is incurred. Rather, the insurance companies only settle claims when all treatment is concluded. Insurance companies operate under the belief that they will have an advantage over a claimant if the claimant has substantial unpaid medical bills at the time that the insurance company makes a “low offer.” Insurance companies anticipate that the claimant will feel compelled to settle at any amount offered, regardless of the seriousness of the damages, because of the financial pressure of unpaid medical expenses experienced by the claimant.
In those circumstances where our clients are uninsured, medical providers will render care and in return ask us to protect the bill for medical services from the proceeds of any recovery. This enables our clients to receive the necessary medical care and provides the treating physician the security of knowing that their services will be paid and the conclusion of a claim.
6. I am not the type of person who likes to sue, do we have to go to court to resolve the claim?
A. No. A majority of all claims are settled without having to actually file suit. An effective way of resolving claims is to prepare a comprehensive settlement package which outlines the facts which establish fault, as well as the damages resulting from the accident. This comprehensive settlement package gives the insurance adjuster that documentation necessary in order to allow them to make a reasonable offer of settlement without fear or criticism from their superiors.
7. Why does the at-fault insurance company refuse to pay medical expenses and lost wages as they are incurred?
A. Nothing prohibits an insurance company from paying for medical treatment and lost wages when incurred. It is simply a business decision on behalf of the insurance companies to create financial pressure on the part of the claimant in the hopes that the claimant will then have to accept a lower settlement offer at the conclusion of the claim.
8. Why do I have to pay the medical bills if the accident wasn’t my fault?
A. Medical providers who render services to persons involved in accidents are not concerned with fault. They seek compensation for the services they provide at the time of service. Because insurance companies do not settle claims by paying medical bills as incurred, the patient is left responsible for any balance. Failure to pay those medical balances when services are rendered often leads to the patient’s bill being turned over to a collection agency which in turn harms their credit rating. Savage Law Firm contacts medical providers to prevent this from happening by agreeing to pay medical bills at the time of settlement.
9. Will filing a claim make my insurance premiums increase?
A. No. When you file a claim for injuries with the at-fault insurance company this in no way affects your insurance premiums. In the event that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, filing a claim for compensation against your own carrier should likewise not result in a premium increase as one can only make an underinsured or uninsured claim if they are not at fault for the accident.
10. What if I am involved in an accident where my car is a total loss and I owe more on my car than its fair market value?
A. This is known as being “upside-down” in one’s car. Someone “upside-down” in their car who is then involved in an accident where their car is a total loss risks being compensated only for the fair market value of the car, despite still owing a balance to the company who financed the vehicle. The law in South Carolina states that someone at-fault in an accident is only required to pay the fair market value of the item damaged. There are ways to avoid this situation. The first is to consider the purchase of GAP insurance, which pays the difference between what is paid on a car that is deemed a total loss and the amount that is still owed on the vehicle. The second is to explore whether there are facts leading up to the accident which would allow you to recoup punitive, or punishment, damages against the at-fault driver which would in turn provide the necessary funds to satisfy any balance owed.